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Colorado Congregation Identifies, Seizes Opportunities for the Gospel

 In All Church of God, CHOG, Western

By Kara Martin and Carl Stagner

Pastor Jake Braschler has only served as pastor of Stratton Church of God since July 2020, yet he’s already leading the small-yet-growing congregation into a new day of ministry. Stratton Church of God has purposed to find ways to bless their neighbors as they embrace their goal of “Creating Disciples who Love.” Pastor Jake describes the church as a powerful force for the kingdom of God in a small, rural town in the high plains of eastern Colorado. Though few may be familiar with the church and its community, heaven surely cheers as spiritual victories are on the rise.

Stratton Church of God was founded more than a century ago, but a new chapter of ministry has opened up with the arrival of Jake Braschler. Having previously served as a worship and Next-Gen pastor in Denver, he filled the pulpit of the Stratton church as they were searching for a pastor. As Jake would soon discover, it wouldn’t be the last time.

Jake wasn’t interested in simply giving a sermon and immediately thereafter departing for Denver. His bent toward relationships led to budding friendships even in the earliest days of getting acquainted with Stratton. “I ended up being asked to speak again, and ultimately God worked it out to call my family to move here from Denver.”

Stratton Church of God welcomes the Braschler family!

God certainly knew what he was doing. The necessary connections to bring about one of the church’s most important ministries today began with a providential meetup the first time Jake filled the pulpit. Jake’s first time preaching at Stratton was also the first visit of a certain man of Hispanic background. “He stayed after the service for about an hour, maybe talking with me for forty-five minutes about my sermon and about ministry. I got his contact information and we stayed in touch. Long story short, this guy is now an elder in our church, a key leader, his wife is the Spanish worship leader, and he interprets for me.”

Yes, you read that right. Because of God’s orchestration of his plans in the background from the beginning, Stratton Church of God is blessed with a Spanish-language ministry that continues to grow. The church in the midst of a large Spanish-speaking population, yet the only Spanish-language option is the local Catholic church. Pastor Jake hopes that, by having a Spanish worship ministry, more people will want to come to pray and worship as a family. He fondly recalls one memory of when they were able to perform seven baptisms in which two of those are part of the Spanish-language ministry. Looking ahead, the church seeks to host one Spanish-language service per month as early as June. By August, the church hopes to ramp the schedule up to two or three service per month in Spanish.

Upon arrival in Stratton, Jake’s ambition to see connections foster with the community was clear. “I was praying for an opportunity to do some outreach in the community,” Jake explains. “‘God, where would you have us go?’ Within a day, I had an email in my inbox about an opportunity to partner with Hope’s Place, and we said yes.”

Part of Hope’s Place’s work is connecting new moms and moms with babies, regardless of their circumstances, to resources that empower and enrich their family life. Their kindness to the community also provides training classes to support and help families.

Stratton Church of God hosts community movie at the park.

Jake Braschler looks forward to seeing what more the church can get involved in and is hopeful that it can stay connected and help people know and serve the Lord in any way they can.

“It’s been exciting to see the church have a desire to be equipped in their workplace, at home, wherever their sphere of influence is, to see people create disciples and carry out the Great Commission and Great Commandment of Jesus. For us, what’s been exciting is we’re sing people come to this church because of people’s investment and that’s going to continue. Disciples are being created, people are experiencing God because people are taking their calling as a disciple seriously. The sense of family, and the sense that we want this community so badly to know Jesus, is a Sunday-through-Sunday experience. That’s making a difference. We’re seeing spouses start to lead, and parents start to parent in a godly manner. Youth and kids are bringing their parents to church. And, any time baptisms happen it’s a reminder of what we’re about—life-transformation for the gospel and because of the gospel.”

The state pastor of the Church of God in Colorado (Steve Rennick) has been incredibly supportive of Pastor Jake and his transition to Stratton Church of God. Other Colorado churches and pastors, some in other states, have offered vital encouragement. In celebration of all God has done and is doing to bring about growth and unity, Cloverdale Church of God, Iglesia de Dios Impacto, and Stratton Church of God worship teams will come together for a night of worship in Spanish and English on Friday, June 25, at Cloverdale.

Kara Martin is a senior from Anderson University, double majoring in public relations and criminal justice. Martin is an associate with Fifth Street Communications®, a student-run public relations agency at Anderson University.

Learn more about the Church of God at www.JesusIsTheSubject.org.

Feature (top) photo: Jake Braschler embraces believer he just baptized at Stratton Church of God.

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